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Residency for Central Schools becoming an issue for parents

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CENTRAL - Parents of some Central Community School System students are frustrated with the strict school board, expressing how difficult it’s been to abide by the residency rules when they’ve recently flooded.

Jessica Vandermark, a parent of two Central students, said after her flooded and relocated for weeks.

Now, the family is back inside Central district boundaries but Vandermark is having trouble with the school board.

I could have chosen anywhere to relocate after the flood, but I wanted to come back to Central, but it was the school board that was pushing me back out,” said Vandermark.

Her new address is still pending approval by the board.

Seven months ago, Vandermark went through a similar experience after moving to Central and said it took two weeks to get her kids in school.

"It' been really hard, just with the Central school board… when you're given a hard time, and it's insinuated that you're lying, when you have all the paperwork in front of you, it's just very frustrating.”

The paperwork she’s referring to, is the documents required to enroll a child in the school system. The total possible pieces of documentation needed amount to 18 different types of proof. You can find the checklist HERE.

The requirement of two gas or water bills and two electric bills has been a challenge for displaced families and people who transferred services to their new address after flooding.

You just lost everything that you owned, every material possession that you've ever had your entire life you just lost it, and now you got to be stressed out about coming up with documentation for a school board,” another frustrated mother, Tiffany Propes, said. “So, your kid can get an education? Really?”

Propes lives with her brother and his three kids and her son. She said she too has gotten a hard time from the school board – her son was not allowed in class for three weeks during pending approval.

School officials countered, the rules are set up to protect actual residents.

We don’t have a problem if they're displaced, but, again, anyone can walk in and say they're displaced and not have flooded. We need to know the area you're coming from and if that area flooded then we can understand you have a legitimate reason for being displaced. If they come in and their area did not flood, then you know, you're just using that as a guise to gain enrollment,” Superintendent Michael Faulk argued.

However, some actual residents said they are still getting a hard time from school board members.

There's a time and a place for everything; now's not the time. If something raises a red flag, look-into it. Other than that, take it for what it is. The paperwork's in front of you; the information you've requested,” said Vandermark.

Superintendent Faulk said a red flag would be if a parent is hesitant to provide all the documentation and proof.

As for the enrollment following the flood, Central Community School System lost 108 students. The system is hopeful they will come back in the coming months.

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